Innovation key in vocational education teaching methods


INNOVATIVE, flexible and student-centred approaches in technical and vocational education were required to meet the challenges of the 21st century, said the principal of Jefri Bolkiah Engineering College.

According to Hj Alias Hj Abu Bakar, these would include a reoriented curriculum to take account of new units, new assessment method and issues such as technology and the requirements of rapidly growing services industries.

He made the remarks during the closing ceremony of the Basic workshop on Student Centred Learning, Education System Training and Development held at the Civil Service Institute, yesterday.

"It is important to have a learner-centric teaching rather than traditional teaching, encourage collaborative or peer learning and encourage self-directed learning," said Hj Alias. He added: "Theory and practice should form an integrated whole and be presented in a manner that motivates the learners. The methods and material used in technical and vocational education should be adapted to the learners needs."

The workshop, said Hj Alias, has enabled participants to identify methods or approaches on how to get students excited in learning as the focus of Problem Based Learning (PBL) has shifted from "Teacher Teaching" to "Students Learning".

"The main role of instructor is a facilitator of learning who should encourage and help students to develop a deep approach to learning and stimulate dialogue among learners rather than lecture," the principal said.

As facilitators, according to him, serve as a resource to students and encourage students to be active in the classroom by investigating, asking questions and solving problems.

He added that due to the short amount of time, a follow up training or appropriate systematic training was needed to further develop the PBL, involving all the relevant stakeholders in the implementation of vocational and technical programmes.

In addition, sufficient resources and infrastructure are required to support its successful implementation.

Acting director of Technical Education, Ministry of Education, Ibrahim Hj Abdul Rahman was present at the closing ceremony where he presented certificates to all of the 40 participants comprising of principals, deputy principals and instructors from various vocational and technical institutions, as well as senior officers from the Department of Technical Education.

Among those present were Dr Chirstine Chan, assistant director of Republic Polytechnic International and head of sections of department of technical education.

The three-day basic workshop has provided participants with the knowledge and information on the best practices of teaching and learning approach that has been practiced by the Republic Polytechnic International on a student-centred learning approach.

The Republic Polythechnic International focuses on student-centred learning and employs the One Day-One Problem framework, where problems are used to trigger learning engagement and knowledge construction. The approach encourages students to be confident, resourceful and be self-directed in their learning.

The workshop is jointly organised by Department of Technical Education of MOE and RP Singapore.

The Brunei Times
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